In The Harris Poll America This Week survey fielded from October 7th to 9th, 2022, among 1,950 U.S. adults, last week’s brief rally in stocks spilled over into a modicum of public optimism, with a four percentage point decline in concern about the economy and inflation and a potential U.S. recession. This begs a question: Are the economic skies brightening? 

Well, keep your umbrella handy. First, inflation and recession worries are still very high (86% and 82%, respectively). And news that OPEC will be curtailing oil production isn’t likely to ease the minds of nearly three-quarters (73%) of the nation concerned about affording their weekly living expenses (+1%-pt from last week).

These kitchen table issues will likely shape the midterms, especially what we see as the pain at the pump. Last week in our webinar with OAAA, we found that gas and groceries were where Americans feel most affected by inflation –– nearly double that of any other household expenditure.

Another thing to watch is the increasing anxiety of employed Americans, nearly half of whom fret about losing their jobs (48%, +3%-pts). In a recent Harris study with Bloomberg, almost six in ten (57%) American workers believe companies have more power in the job market these days, a (5%-pt) increase from January. Overall, two-thirds of all Americans (67%) are worried that companies will start cutting staff or hiring smaller numbers of employees

Here’s what else you need to know this week:

Americans split on the critical question facing the Federal Reserve, whether a recession or more inflation is a better thing, in a new Harris Poll/Bloomberg survey. 

And the OAAA above survey finds that with AI-immersive out-of-home advertising is getting much amplification on social media platforms

Also, our Fast Company/Harris Poll survey details how, even years away, Gen Z is shouldering concerns about their retirement.

To end, we check in with U.S. high school students to see how their schools’ inadequate college and career planning data could impede their futures

Check out our America This Week: From The Harris Poll podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts with our CEO John Gerzema and CSO Libby Rodney on this week’s data and more.

Inflation or Recession? Americans Are Divided on Rate Hikes: Bloomberg-Harris Poll

Is a recession or inflation better? Our latest survey with Bloomberg and featured in Politico takes this question to the nation:

  • Background: To fight inflation, The Fed recently raised rates by 75 basis points for the third time and signaled they would continue tightening monetary conditions. And half of Americans seem ok with that. 
  • Half of the country (50%) wants to tame inflation quickly, even if it means a recession, while half (50%) prefer avoiding a recession, regardless of inflation ticking higher. 
  • Pick your poison: Regardless of the split in public opinion on the best course of action, nearly three-quarters (73%) who are financing some expenditures are worried about affording their monthly budgets now that they have to pay more on interest.

Takeaway: While 8 in 10 Americans (79%) are concerned over rising interest rates, 6 in 10 (58%) believe rate hikes will have an impact on bringing down inflation in the next six months, with younger Americans being the most optimistic (Gen Z: 71%, Millennials: 66% v. Gen X: 59%, Boomer+: 46%).

Great Outdoor Lives Again on Social Media: OAAA-Harris Poll

According to our latest survey with OAAA, as featured on Digital Signage Today and OOH Today, TikTok and other social media platforms have evolved beyond viral dances and have become a major source of out-of-home (OOH) ad visibility. 

  • Eight in ten TikTok users (82%) notice OOH ads in the content on their feeds frequently, with similar numbers reported among Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter users (81%, 80%, 78%, and 76%, respectively). 
  • Nearly half of social media users (48%) engage with the OOH ads that they see in their social feeds by visiting the advertised company’s website, and over a third are inspired to search for the company online, read reviews about their products and service, and/or ask friends and family about the brand.
  • Earlier this year, a previous OAAA-Harris Poll survey found that (43%) of U.S. adult consumers notice OOH ads more now than before the pandemic (Gen Z: 63%, Millennials: 59%). 

Takeaway: Creators post more out-of-home messages across their social media channels, meaning the more substantial the creativity, the greater the likelihood for amplification. From TikTok to Instagram, OOH executions take on other legs when the ideas create engagement and sharing. The best OOH also generates likes and clicks.

Forget Houses, Gen Z Can’t Afford Retirement Either: Fast Company-Harris Poll

Millennials started the FIRE movement (Financially Independent, Retire Early). But cash-crunched Gen Z is scoffing at that pipedream, according to our latest survey with Fast Company

  • When it comes to planning for their retirement years, younger workers are even more likely than their older counterparts to say they feel significantly overwhelmed by the idea: (31%) of Gen Zers strongly agreed with the statement “planning for retirement is overwhelming to me” (v. Millennials: 24%, Gen X: 23%, Boomers: 12%). 
  • Gen Z was again the most likely to say they didn’t know how much savings they’ll need to retire comfortably (73% v. Millennials: 66%, Gen X: 69%, Boomers: 51%).
  • While less than a fifth (14%) report retiring in your 50s was the most appropriate age, a quarter of Gen Z (24%) was most likely to support the idea of retiring younger.

Takeaway: Wait for Gen Z activism and focus on ESG to reach the benefits suite: According to a previous survey with Fortune, Gen Z was the least likely to say their employers provided a retirement contribution compared to their older coworkers (17% v. Millennials: 34%, Gen X: 42%, Boomers: 40%), yet the most likely to find employer retirement contributions to be important in deciding to take a new job v. staying in their current role (77% v. 82%, 89%, 69%, respectively).

What’s Next? American Teens to Their High Schools: Give Me My Data: Data Quality Campaign-Harris Poll

In partnership with the Data Quality Campaign and the Kentucky Student Voice Team, as featured in The 74, high school students across the country report that they are in the dark about their own learning and future. 

  • Two-thirds of high school students (67%) say the 2021-22 school year was challenging
  • And over half (54%) say the pandemic has changed how they think about what they might do after graduation.
  • But just (35%) said their school informed them of what postsecondary or career paths are available to them. The same percentage said their school has told them whether their courses are preparing them for higher education.
  • Students also lack the necessary information to determine their options after graduation, including data on outcomes for students like them at different postsecondary institutions and in various careers.
  • 8 in 10 students (80%) agreed they would feel more confident about their path if they had better access to information like this.

Takeaway: A generation that has fingertip access to data from their steps to their friend’s locations 24/7, schools are simply analog. And inadequate teaching extends beyond schooling and into early careers. As we found previously with Bloomberg that for those Gen Z Americans who interned or started a job this past year, half (49%) agree that they don’t feel like their training and onboarding were done well. In addition, 6 in 10 interns (58%) reported feeling lost at work without anyone to reach out to for questions and support.

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from October 7th to October 9th, among a nationally representative sample of 1,950 U.S. adults.

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John Gerzema


Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from October 7th to October 9th, among a nationally representative sample of 1,950 U.S. adults.


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